Android SMS Bug Still Plaguing Users [Updated]


A bug that was first brought to the attention of Google back in June has yet to be addressed and appears to be picking up steam, let me add fuel to the fire (give you that which you desire).

An SMS bug in which a sender tries to send a message to their spouse saying “My boss is an A$$!” appears to be sent to the spouse, but instead is sent to a random, unintended recipient, like the boss. And I don’t mean Bruce! What is a little more insulting is that Google has maintained the priority of this bug to “Medium”.

As of this writing a poll on ZDNet indicates that 9% of Android users have been affected by this bug at least once. A number that should be more than high enough to light a fire.

Take a look at the bug for yourself, and if you have been affected by it report as much detail in that thread.

[via ZDNet | Read on BGR | Thanks to all who sent this in.]
[Image courtesy of Iowa State University]
[polldaddy poll=4320446]

Looks like all of the publicity this has been receiving over the past few days has prompted Google to up this one to “critical”. Well done, to everyone who rallied for Google to get a move on!

Tyler Miller

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  1. Is there a way to check to see if you have this? Do any of the ‘anti-viruses’ for Android catch this and remove it?

    Although I love Android there again is where one of the weakness lies. I’m not proposing anyone approving/disapproving apps based on their like/dislike, but, something overseeing based on maliciousness would be a welcome thing.

  2. I haven’t had this happen to me, however, I have selected the wrong person before and sent them a message intended for someone else… if only there was a cancel button at times….

  3. I use google voice….

  4. Looks like a stink bug to me. lol

  5. I thought this was a bug in custom ROM’s but maybe not. Some people mentioned in forums that if you access the SMS from the notification pull-down, that is when the issue is more likely to occur. Not sure if that is accurate or not as I do not think I have experienced this issue.

  6. Is this for reals? why does this feel like a hoax?

  7. Yeah, it’s definitely real. I have Facebook SMS alerts set up and every now and then when i send a text to someone (any one of several people) it posts it on my wife’s Facebook wall.

  8. i have heard of this but never knew some one that had it. i hope it gets dealt with soon. and i love the metallica referance :-)

  9. And if this bug doesn’t scare you, if you use Corporate email (Exchange) your credentials are stored in clear text on your phone. I am not going to go into the details on how to find this information, but it is scary. Google seriously needs to focus more on security and fixing bugs such as SMS issue or eventually, people will stop using these devices.

  10. It happens to me all the time…I select a person and start writing and send it, and it goes to another person…Im glad I dont have a girlfriend or I would be super mad at my phone and the sms bug!!!!!

  11. Never happened to me, thankfully.

  12. Android is open source. Why doesn’t someone fix it. Why wait for google?

  13. Slightly off topic, what is the bug pictured? I’ve started seeing them here but only in the last year or so, never before. So i’m wondering if it’s a foreign bug invading or if i’ve just somehow by chance never seen 1 before then.

  14. Bug is a ‘stink bug’ introduced to some areas of the US by the government to kill-off other bugs. NEVER a good idea.

  15. Nevermind, realised that the picture save as name might give me a clue. Turns out it is a foreign bug which apparently is also a sign of global warming having an effect in the UK as they’re warm climate bugs…would explain why i’ve only recently started seeing them.

  16. This same problem was occuring when the T-Mobile WinMo 6.5 HTC HD2 (if I remember the phone correctly) about a year ago. Don’t know if that problem was ever fixed or not.

  17. My understanding is, this bug is triggered by receiving a malformed MMS from certain providers such as Bank of America. Somehow this breaks the database.

  18. I haven’t had this happen but I am pulling my hair out with after deleting my sms and mms messages they continue to stay in my list with a date of Dec 31, 1969 and there is no text in the message when I open it just the date and the persons name….VERY IRRITATING!!!!!

  19. I am surprised this is still hasn’t been fixed, I have been complaining about this since the first versions of Android came out on the G1, its been around THAT long.
    I have experienced it so much I have adapted a routine where I regularly delete all SMS from the inbox which seems to help because it seems to send to one of the other people in your inbox, so if the inbox is clear for every SMS you send there is no one else to send it to other than the intended recipient.
    Its about time Google got off there arses and fixed this.

  20. the only sms bug I have encountered was the texts do not get sent out fail fail over and over I guess if you have over 200 in a thread it happens more often at least with me. But once it sends you get double and triple repeat msgs.

  21. @13. ilh
    its a stink bug iused to rarely see them now i see them almost every day in the summer (i live in virginia)

    i have had this and alot more weird shit happen with my sms app

    but it hasnt happened to my nexus yet

  22. Since I’m using “MyAntiVirus Pro” it seems to work perfectly…

    Best 3€ i ever invested!!!

  23. Must be user error

  24. “The more they overthink the plumbing the easier it is to stop up the drain.”.. It seems that to repeat the bug requires different combinations of getting and replying to texts from people on and off your contact list, combined with being tied into a bank that sends you a text for every transaction, or other automatic SMS messages that are sent by similar companies.. It obviously needs to be fixed, as something in all this “convenience” is breaking the database on the phone. I think “joe average” probably doesn’t have this problem as much as the power user who wants to use SMS for things outside of just sending texts back and forth to people they know.. but the can of worms has been opened, and if SMS is going to be used that way, then it needs to be fixed.. a little more pronto would be a good idea.

  25. Just one of many irritating bugs on Android. Won’t send, invalid recipient as well, to nm teo. The bug, in UK, is called a shield bug, for obvious reasons. Its native in Europe, and isn’t especially a warm climate bug.

  26. This has happened to me. I use Facebook SMS and sometimes I’ll be texting my friend, it looks like I reply to them, but it turns out the phone decided to actually reply to a facebook status update message. So instead of my friend getting it, the message gets posted as a comment on someones facebook status

  27. I haven’t had this happen with SMS, however, I have seen this bug while placing calls. At times when I bring up my Call Log and want to call the top contact back, once I tap call it would start calling a totally different contact (usually one that is displayed in the Call Log).


  28. This was hapenning to me after restarting my phone a couple of months ago. Everytime it would restart it would send my last text to about 5 people. My girlfriend got some random texts and said wtf. Thanks! I tried deleting chomp sms app and now have handcent and it hasn’t happen.

  29. I’ve selected the wrong person though I tapped on the correct one many times. I always thought it was my Nexus One screen acting up.

  30. I am running Vibrant unrooted on T-mobile and I am affected by this. What would happen is, I send a text message, then it would send to someone else random in my list. Then, in the MMS log it would list the name of my GF, then it would jump to a different name in the same conversation. Very annoying indeed.

    Only fix I found was to delete all my texts and that seems to clear the cache or something clean. Dunno. BTW, gonna root next week.

  31. I nor anyone I know has ever suffered from this problem. I call shenanigans on this.

  32. I have never had this issue on my Evo. Got it in June. Why do I find it funny that some of these people think this is a malicious bug caused by a security breach that an antivirus app can cure? LoL people. Bugs are software issues that every os on earth has. They are kinks that are no fault of malware, just kinks in software that have to be worked out.

  33. This just happened to me today. 3 times in fact. After restarting my phone between the second and third time too.

    It’s also happened many times before, but not this many times in one single day. And it’s not even over yet. SHEESH.

    I really hope this gets fixed :/
    I don’t want to keep sending cute messages intended for my girlfriend to my best friend who is a guy. :o

  34. I think this has to do with tapping a recipient before the screen updates fully.

  35. @random: We know they were meanr for him, don’t play! According to most sources, it’s the stock Android app. Glad Sense has its own.

  36. The state of Android is making me sad. I love it but there are a lot of little issues like this, some come from carriers and others from OEMs that make me not want to spend my money on it. That leaves me choosing between WP7, which i havent tried or Android and dealing with the issues. Sometimes I wish Android was closed.

  37. This happened quite often to my Galaxy S on Eclair, but only when I kept many text conversations open. As someone else said above, closing most of them solved the problem. However since I got FroYo this issue has gone away completely. I actually thought it was Samsung’s fault so I was surprised to learn it was actually Google’s. But I can’t believe this is only medium priority on Google’s list! That’s outrageous!

  38. I had a similar problem, but it was my entire message threads were scrambled, I would send a message to one contact but the message would be sent to a completely random contact and the intended contact. I’m not sure if it related to that same issue but I also get Generic message failure at least 5 times a day.

    Mythouch 3g slide, stock

  39. @AGx: Stop all that cussin’! Closed = little to no choice.

  40. Just an FYI for anyone who cares, that bug displayed is a Brown Stink Bug (Nymph)

  41. Never had this issue… I use handcent for sms/mms. Been on android since day 1. There were other bugs lol but never had this one happen.

  42. Has happened to me…and then the person doesnt believe me. Smh.

  43. this is like a shit april fool joke. what’s with all the `creativity` in the write up? too much drinking on new year’s eve?

  44. Just a minute ago, I pulled down my notification bar, and selected a text message I just received. I only had one message in my notification bar, and two conversations in my text message app.
    Instead of opening up the conversation that just texted me, it opened up my second conversation. Luckly I noticed this, but other times I have fallen victim to this bug.

  45. Sheep losers posting here.
    ..BAAA! Sheisse, stupidity galore!

  46. You guys are so over stating the issue. And making it sound a lot more wide spread then it is. The simple fact most of the bug reports on this issue are worthless or contradict each other. Yes it is bad when it happens but having used Android for some time now and knowing a lot of people on various devices and no one has ever ever had this issue. And I personally send 5-6 thousand texts a month. That is around 66,000 text messages in the last year without issues

  47. Maybe people shouldnt send texts that say “My boss is an A$$!”.

  48. This is the bug that forced me off my nexus, and onto the vibrant, which was so god awful it sent me running all the way to the iPhone. So kudos to you, android; you took a lifelong android fan/iOS hater, and forced so much buggy software into your androids, and allowed samsung to drag their update feet to a criminal degree. You fucked up so bad that not only have you repelled me, you sent me right into the arms of the enemy. Android is quickly proving to be the poor peoples OS. Glad I jumped ship, Ive seen others with similar stories, and I strongly suggest those of you who haven’t, try an iPhone 4, you have no idea what a mobile phone can be like. I tried for years, my dearest Android, i do know you meant well, but you just didnt try nearly hard enough, there was too much take on your part, and not nearly enough give. Good riddance.

  49. Oh no not the stinkbug. They are invading my house!!

  50. I call.bullshit! There are entirely too many people on this thread that claim they have this bug. bs!
    ILH comment 15: your GlobalWarming schpeel doesn’t hold.water. I live in the south and theyve been around for decades. They were introduced to kill other bugs as another poster stated. How about you stop believing everything you watch on the nightly news and do you own research. Climate change has been going on since the beginning of time. Now get in your Prius and go to the library and stop watching so much tv.
    re DavidScott- what are you a teenage girl? 5-6k sms a month? I call malarkky on that one.

  51. Imagine the if this was an iPhone bug – the Internet would go crazy.

  52. I have a bug in my SMS when I touch a contact it will go to another thread. Kind of annoying!Happy new year!

  53. I’ve had the same sort of problem on my EVO. Sent a text intended for my GF and it showed up in my ex-wifes text thread. However, when I looked at the message details in my ex’s thread it showed it going the GF’s number.. GF received it..

  54. I can’t believe some people can be so ignorant to think this bug does NOT exist. Why some people find it so hard to accept the fact that Android has flaws brings them down to the level of some the worst iPhone fanboys.

    -Thousands of users have submitted this specific bug to Google.
    -Several well-respected, credible tech bloggers have had it personally happen to them.
    -Even though the bug reports conflict each other in regards to the cause of the bug, everyone agrees the issue is the same (SMS to wrong recipient).
    -Definitely not overstated/hyped. Probably understated as when it happens, most Android users probably attribute it to user error (i.e. “I tapped the wrong contact”).
    -When it happens you won’t necessarily even realize it (especially if you send a lot of txts) as most people who get a txt like “talk 2 u ltr” erroneously would probably not reply to it or just assume you sent it to the wrong person and not waste more time by txting the sender back to tell them mistake.
    -It has happened to me several times but have not seen it happen since atleast the OTA Froyo update on my OG Droid.

  55. This just happened to me today. This is extremely frustrating and google really does need to fix it. This could cause someone some really serious problems. I’m almost afraid to text important things now for fear that the wrong eyes might see them.

  56. That bug you are showing…unfortunately..has ruined my life entirely. I know it doesn’t pertain to phones, but as a reminder, check yourselves and your children/pets for ticks. It can take a moment, but can save many lives.

    That was your little public service announcement…Now back to the normal load of comments! ;]

  57. This is a real problem, got my best friend and I in a pretty nasty fight one day lol
    All good now though

  58. I just texted my boss to say he’s an ass. I’ll tell him its this bug.

    Seriously, is New Years Eve the new April Fools day or something?

  59. Happened to me too.

  60. I’ve had that problem and another one. Let’s say I want to text back Person A, top of my list. I select them, and a conversation between me and person H (so far down the list I’d have to scroll to accidentally choose them) pops up.

  61. Nobody cares!

  62. mine says ‘message send: failed’ even when it’s sent and keeps prompting me to send again :| trouble is I can never tell when the message actually sends!

  63. never had this issue, used droid and droid x, with handcent to manage sms… what phones are people using with the issue? do they use the default android sms manager?

  64. @Adrian, me too.

  65. Some people still use the stock sms app? What’s wrong with Handcent (and that other one that’s harder to use)?

  66. I’ve had three different phones (G1, Cliq, G2) with multiple roms (official roms for Cliq and G2, various Cyanogen for G1) and I’ve never had this particular sms problem. Sometimes it seemed like the messages were “sent” but never got to the person I was texting… If it went to someone else entirely, I was never told about it.

    @ #23 (meh): LOL, I’m wearing a shirt with that on it right now (“It must be user error”).

  67. i have a bug that also affects millions of galaxy s users…. WE STILL DONT HAVE FROYO

  68. Its happened to me a few times, a lil frustrating but glitches “bugs” happen! Epic “failure” owner…………. thank for clearing the type of bug i see this all the time at my work

  69. GO SMS. Nice program but caused error in sending messages

  70. stink bug….lmao

  71. @52 franta- that’s no joke! But that’s the beauty of the iPhone for consumers, that Phone has to work perfectly since there is only one iPhone. But as others have mentioned, android gets away with all kinds of bugs because usually the bugs are spread on different phones and are attributed to the manufacturer skin as often as to google. So a bug on one phone, like this utterly disastrous text bug that I have way too often goes unneeded by google because it’s not on all phones, so not all android users experience it. It’s sort of a shitty deal that way, android doesn’t have nearly the motivation apple does to stabilize their software. That’s why, although android has way more features, it isn’t and will never be as stable and reliable as that damn iPhone. But hell that’s just the way it is, the truth hurts.

  72. Im HUNGOVER!!!

  73. Ummmm new years eve was 2 nites ago.

  74. Just the other day I went to reply to a text from my boyfriend and for a brief moment it indicated that I was sending to my coworker. Strange. I hope I’m not accidentally sending stuff to the wrong person! I will keep my inbox clear just in case.

  75. I have a similar but not the exact same problem. For some reason on my my touch 4gi send a text to my mom and it seems a text to all the people I have selected as my family in my faves. I tried deleting all of my faves but it still does it created a thread to goto all of them but if I reply to her pop from hasn’t handcent sms it only goes to her anyone got any ideas.

  76. Never, ever had this happen. Own and G1 and a Droid. If this is a real bug, sounds like a carrier or GUI skin issue. REPEAT — it has never happened to me.

  77. I have an OG Droid and have not had a problem but my roommate has been affected by this bug severely with the same phone. My girlfriend has a Droid X and has had this happen to her a couple of times as well.

  78. I think the problem is not with sms specifically but with contact sync. What has happened to me in the past is that somehow the wrong name got associated with a number. So I’ve answered my phone thinking it was one person, when it turned out to be another. Or I got a text from someone, and it turned out to be someone else. These have been rare and, thus far, benign, but it certainly could be a serious problem. It’s been solved (after the fact) by going into the contact and deleting the second number (which belonged to a different contact altogether and shouldn’t have been there), but really it shouldn’t be happening.

  79. Could it be specific carrier in US?

  80. I have not experienced this issue firsthand, but this is a concern for sure.

  81. So…. is Phanndroid dead?

  82. I haven’t had this problem on my fascinate, but every now and again I’ll get a text and it will say new message from Bob but when I go to my in box the message is from someone else, we’ll go with Doug.

  83. This specific bug has not happened to me but Ihave had major sms issues w my androids. With the Samsung vibrant on tmobile I would receive the same messages over and over again (“hey” 42 times). It happened on my original device n my replacement. I am currently using the my touch 4g and it had been working great except for today the messenger was freezing n when it began to work again all my messages had been deleted. I downloaded handscent. Anybody experience these issues?

  84. Never had the problem happen to me. Hence I doubt its an actual bug with the OS. I wonder how many people actually have the problem, and how many just ham fist typing the person’s name and just blame it on a problem.

  85. this has happened to me a few times. send a text to personA it shows as sent to personA in their thread but they never get it. In fact it goes to someone else in my contact list and i only know because personZ sends me a text asking me what im talking about. In general, not a huge deal but now i never know when it’s going to happen so i only send pg texts. using the stock app on G2… happened to me only about five times that i’m aware of since launch.

  86. Priority is now critical by the way :-) maybe they’ll get on it now.

  87. @ the webmasters
    if you’re going to leave the site , on break I assume, at least give us the decency to leave us with a better looking image than a bedbug or whatever the hell it is.

  88. I’ve had this problem on my nexus one. I’m glad that the priority level has been changed.

  89. This bug appears to be related to overmultitasking, for example relaunching the Messaging app a bunch of times using ‘Home’ button. If every instance stays open it’s no surprise such things happen.

    Never had anything like this happen to me and, how someone mentioned somewhere else, the whole thing seems to be a bit volatile. Seriously, there were people living with this issue since 2.1?

  90. And we’re all running happily into Google’s arms with these devices, handing over tons and tons of our data. Can’t wait to see what the next hole in the suckurity is!

  91. I’ve also had this happen on Nexus One. Although it happens extremely rarely and only when any one contact on the conversations list has *a lot* of messages in it.

    Possibly related is when the above is true, sometimes deleting a conversation thread will delete the wrong contact’s conversation thread. Very irritating. But like others, I’ve learned to keep my messaging app tidy in order to avoid this.

  92. Right. These SMS errors are sending you to iPhone because its never had any problems…

  93. yes this definitely happens very often on my evo, probably one out of every three texts. I open the sms app and select a conversation/person to text and instead of opening the stream of texts for that person, it opens someone else. If I don’t immediately recognize that it opened the wrong person, then I accidentaly send to wrong person. I now double check every time. Its so bad that now when I notice it brings up the wrong person, I go back and try again and it sometimes takes three or four attempts to bring up the correct person.

  94. This has happened to me where I send a text to somebody and a completely different person responds to me with a, “what are you talking about?” Also, not sure if this is the same bug, but sometimes I will receive a text from somebody, and then shortly after I will receive the same text again. Then I ask why they sent it twice and they say, “I didn’t send that twice.” One time it got so bad, I received the same text from somebody 23 times in a row. I even turned my phone off and pulled the battery in the middle of it all and when I turned it back on, I received the same text 13 more times. Major fuck up on Google’s part if you ask me. Get this shit fixed please. :)

  95. My phone re-sends texts over & over, and sometimes it says my text failed so I resend them and the recipient receives them multiple times. I oftern have to turn it off to make this stop. As far as the bug, I wrote my husband a text to say I love him and thank you for the love note. It was a bit mushy saying he was sexy, ect…It was sent to my employee instead. I had to send 3 messages just to apologize and let him know I didn’t feel that way about him. This bug could cause some serious trouble. It really needs fixed, its a liability.

  96. I’ve just started having this issue today, and multiple times when replying within the correct thread (and the inbox only having a couple)some random person will reply, someone who is not in my contacts, someone i have no idea who they are or where they are. It will all still show as coming from the person i’d been talking to all day, yet they wont get the message and whoever the heck is getting them will reply and be like wth? who are you. I have a brand new htc desire hd.

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